Today I sat in Brooklyn Bridge Park and watched runners anxiously scoot in to collect their bibs for race day. After hustling around the past two days I planned this leisurely afternoon of bib procuring, taco eating (yes, there were tacos!), and people watching as a nice midweek recoup. Mostly, I wanted to sit outside and enjoy the weather. I have yet to find a great outdoor spot to write comfortably so while I am always glad to get work done during the week, I can’t help but feel cooped up and eager for fresh air and warm sun.
Those rays had me feeling so many things today. Although I abhor the winter and long for a bi-coastal lifestyle that allows me to avoid it, I feel grateful that I grew up in the Midwest experiencing all four seasons. The first time I pull a hoodie over my head in the Fall and feel that bit of crisp in the air, I’m flooded with memories of touch football with my brothers during halftime of a Michigan game, and jumping in piles of crunchy leaves, and my mom’s chili and cornbread. Today, sitting outside on one of our first real hot days, all I could think about was chasing my friend’s neighbor during capture the flag, and trying to catch minnows in the lake, and burnt hot dogs. Mmm…burnt hot dogs, you’ll notice I’ll never fail to link memories to food.
I’m big on memories; so much so that I always seem to be trying to recreate them–much to the mild irritation of my husband. Near the beginning of our relationship we went to an early evening movie on a Friday night. Afterwards we wandered over to the nearby Whole Foods where we assembled the most delicious and random smorgasbord from the buffet and prepared food section. We sat and ate in their upstairs lounge and chatted and people-watched for hours. We were quite especially entertained by a large group of twenty-somethings playing some sort of Dungeons and Dragons game. There had to be forty of them and they had these elaborate set-ups all over the tables and they were shouting things and laughing and also being serious. It was fascinating. It was also one of the best nights of my life. I’ve tried recreating this date at least 2-3 times but it’s never worked; there’s a strain of magic that only lives for a day.
When I think about my best memories, I think they are all kind of like this one–unplanned, random, simple. In the park today I realized that it is the simplicity that I long for–it’s the thing that tugs at my heart and begs to be felt over and over again. But this yearning isn’t spawned from the external details at all–it’s not the restaurant or the movie or the bonfire that make the day indelible. It’s that I attach these beautiful uncomplicated memories to a simpler time. My recollection of these sweet times carries no attachment to political happenings or world events. I want to go back to playing capture the flag on a summer night because in retrospect I realize that at that moment, I had absolutely nothing in the world to worry about.
Today I listened to news and political podcasts that serve as my constant reminder that the world is scary and complicated. Today I sat in the sun and watched people and ate tacos. Maybe life is simple right now.
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